Restaurant reservation systems help solve one of the biggest challenges of the foodservice industry – managing the constant influx of reservations and customers. Most restaurants today are using online ordering and reservation software to streamline their table booking process to avoid having to deal with no-show clients and empty eateries.
Especially amid Covid-19 and the growing take-out and delivery trend, the right restaurant reservation system makes the online reservation process convenient and timely and increases customer satisfaction. Allowing customers to book their tables online and in advance also allows restaurateurs to schedule resources according to the number of bookings and better prepare for that day’s service. All this leads to increased profits.
As competition rises, new reservation and management systems like Resy and Tock are promising cheaper solutions for restaurateurs staring down increasingly tight margins, but they’re not necessarily for every restaurant. In this article, we compare 4 of the best reservation systems out there to help you make the right choice for your restaurant.
Restaurant Reservation Systems Overview
|$89 - $899||$199||$248||$199 - $699|
Resy: Strong Covid-19 Response
Resy is a technology company founded in 2014 which provides an app and back-end management software for restaurant reservations. The app is partnered with Instagram, Facebook and Google and serves over 4,000 restaurants in over 200 cities, mainly in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
To adapt to the covid-19 pandemic, Resy created a mobile waitlist and capacity monitor. With the new feature, guests can add themselves to the restaurant’s waitlist if they’re close to the restaurant.
Resy’s restaurant reservation system helps prevent crowding at the host stand and bar area so guests can socially distance while waiting for a table. Restaurants can set a specific capacity depending on their local state or city government regulations and Resy will automatically disable reservations upon hitting that upper limit.
Resy has also launched its curbside pickup feature, “Resy at Home”, which lets customers order food for contactless pickup with no extra fee for the restaurants.
Cost: Monthly fee ranges from $89-$899
To learn about the other ways Resy is helping its restaurants through this time check out their Covid-19 response page.
- All-in-one waitlist and restaurant reservation system
- Mobile booking
- POS integration
- Table management features
- Two-way texting for reservations and checklist
- Share guest notes and preferences on multiple devices
- App works only in major cities
- Does not have a strong marketing tool
- Smaller user base compared to other apps
- Restaurants are curated, which means your restaurant may not get featured
OpenTable: Foodservice Industry Veteran
OpenTable is an online restaurant reservation company founded in 1998 and based in San Francisco. Starting with a limited selection of restaurants in San Francisco, OpenTable now serves more than 30,000 restaurants in the U.S. as well as in international cities. The company charges restaurants monthly and per-reservation fees but the service is free for end-users.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many restaurants began operating as small grocers to stay open. In response, OpenTable launched a grocery store feature that allows shoppers to reserve a shopping time slot, same as they would in a restaurant. The service is free for all grocery stores and restaurants that sell wholesale grocery items.
Costs: OpenTable has a one-time fee of $1,295 and a $199 monthly fee. For online reservations, there’s no monthly subscription fee. OpenTable charges $1 per cover book on the website and $0.25 per cover if booked on your own website. Thus, optimizing your website and driving more customers to your website is better for your brand and bottom line.
OpenTable recently announced two new initiatives to help restaurants successfully reopen their businesses. Read more.
- OpenTable reaches up to 19 million diners per month, significantly more than their competitors
- They fill empty tables by recommending them to customers which allows for a steady business flow
- Simple to use electronic reservation book
- Features include reservation management, table management, guest recognition and email marketing
- More than 37,000 restaurants on the app, which means more competition
- Expensive and complicated cost structure includes cover fees, even for returning guests
- Their dining points system builds loyalty for the OpenTable app over your restaurant
Yelp: Impressive User Base
Yelp was founded in 2004 in San Francisco. Among other things, the company operates an restaurant reservation system called Yelp Reservations, a feature originally added in 2010.
To ensure minimum contact between diners, Yelp offers a new feature that allows you to link your digital menu to your restaurant’s Yelp page. Guests can access the menu through their phones either by going to Yelp or by scanning a QR code. To avoid crowding around the host stand or outside the restaurant, Yelp waitlist allows guests to scan a QR code and immediately get on the waitlist.
Cost: Flat rate of $248 per month.
In the early days of the pandemic, Yelp announced:
This relief program has ended. Visit here for Yelp’s full Covid-19 response.
- Over 95 million people use Yelp every month
- Guests can receive a text message when a reservation opens up and can book the table on the spot
- Simple payment plan
- Lacks restaurant discovery – users can’t browse through a list of
- Yelp Reservations restaurants that have available tables
- Yelp reviews are next to the reservations and they can’t be altered or changed. Your restaurant’s rating is also visible and in case of negative comments, diners might choose not to book.
Tock: Driving Prices Down
Founded in 2014, Tock is a Chicago-based restaurant reservation system. Tock’s reservation platform works with 3,000 restaurants, wineries and pop-ups across 28 countries.
To combat the Covid-19 strain on restaurants, Tock has launched “Tock To Go”. With this new feature, customers can reserve, purchase and pick up meals from restaurants that did not offer takeout food before. Tock charges the restaurant a fee of 3% per order, considerably less than the 25% many third-party delivery apps charge.
Tock’s strategic integrations with Google, Facebook, Instagram, Chase, and WineDirect, make its partnership network a powerful one.
Cost: Monthly flat fee ranges from $199$-$699 depending on the plan. No setup fee, no cover fees, no texting fees, and multiple device access at no extra charge.
In less than a week, Tock came out with an entirely new product for its restaurant reservation system:
To learn more about Tock’s extension of their booking system visit here.
- Automatic wait list fills tables if there’s a last-minute cancellation
- Google, Facebook and Instagram integration
- Pre and post visit questionnaires: get to know your guest before and after their visit to gather private, actionable feedback
- Fewer users compared to other apps
Primarily used for expensive fine-dining restaurants
- With big names appearing on its platform, it might seem less approachable to smaller restaurants
How to Choose a Restaurant Reservation System
When choosing a restaurant reservation system there are several things to take into consideration. Some of the must-have features of any table booking system include:
- Secure payment options within the reservation for restaurants
- User-friendly interface
- A simple and clear calendar
- Pre-ordering option
- A visually-appealing menu
- Discounts and vouchers
- Automatic communication
For any supplier you choose to work with, remember there are always more things to consider besides cost. Cheetah is a wholesale food distributor that helps restaurants streamline their ordering and inventory processes. The free app lets you order on-the-go, from anywhere and from any device. It also offers shop until midnight for next day pickup and a contact-free delivery for staying safe during Covid-19.